OUR JUDGES

Pablo Canamasas

Pablo Canamasas

ARGENTINA

Pablo lives in Argentina and is an agriculture scientist specialising in olive oil production and oil quality. He has been in the olive industry for 22 years. He is an olive oil production consultant in over ten countries including North America, Japan, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Brazil, Israel, China, Mexico and New Zealand.

Initially Pablo specialised and trained in olive oil and table olive production in Spain and Italy. He has undertaken valuable olive oil processing research funded by the Australian Government and published numerous research papers on olive processing.  Pablo has broad experience in modern olive oil extraction techniques, olive processing, oil blending and quality control.

He has extensive experience in olive oil tasting and has regularly been invited to judge at many competitions including The Australian National Olive Competition, Melbourne’s Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Olive show, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and the Fino Oliva Show in Brazil.

He has had wide-ranging experience in the design and development of olive oil processing facilities and in the continual improvement of their industrial efficiencies.

Pablo is respected worldwide and is a regular key speaker on olive oil and processing courses, conferences and seminars around the world including World Congress

Margie Carter

Margie Carter

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Margie has a horticultural and farming background and has been in the olive industry for over 20 years. Having owned an olive tree nursery in 1996, she is well versed in the olive tree and resultant ‘naturally brined’ processing methods.

She runs the third generation family farm www.parafieldolives.com.au in the Riverina region just outside of Wagga Wagga. Margie is a producer of premium award winning table olives and olive oil.

She has been on the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga since 2010 and has been judging olive oil at the Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne state competitions and the Australian National Olive Competition since 2003

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Shane Cummins

Shane Cummins

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW

Shane picked his first olives in 2000 with Long Paddock Olive Rustlers and has been hooked ever since. Shane is a landscaper and paver by trade but his incessant passion is for olives.

Shane has been formally assessing olive oil since 2007. In 2009 Shane completed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Appreciation and Assessment course. Since 2010 he has been show judging in regional and national competitions including the Australian National Olive Competition, Olives New Zealand, Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Australian Food Awards, Sydney Fine Food Show, Canberra Olive Oil Show and the Golden Olive Show.

He is the convenor of the ‘Tastebook’ program, a sensory professional development and training initiative in appreciating, describing and understanding how to improve the quality of extra virgin olive oil and table olives. www.australianolives.com.au/article-detail/tastebook. 

He has been the head judge of the Australian National Olive competition since 2016 and he is extremely honoured to be Chairman of judges for the first Australian International Olive Awards. He sees his responsibility as an advocate for olive oils and olives and facilitator for judges and the event team.

Alexandra Devarenne

Alexandra Devarenne

CALIFORNIA - USA

Alexandra is an olive oil consultant, educator and the cofounder of Extra Virgin Alliance (EVA), an international non-profit trade association of olive oil producers and experts working to foster appreciation, restore consumer trust and create value in the market for authentic, quality extra virgin olive oil. In 2003 Alexandra joined the Californian Taste Panel which held IOC recognition at that time. She is currently a member of the research taste panel in Sonoma County and was a member of the UC Davis taste panel (AOCS recognised) from inception to dissolution. She has taught olive oil tasting classes in many venues, including Olive Oil Sommeliers of Japan, Culinary Institute of America, Los Angeles County Fair and UC Davis. She teaches olive oil classes to producers and trade, and to consumers about olive oil and cooking. Alexandra has presented at many olive oil conferences in the US and abroad, focusing on olive oil sensory education, communication, marketing and quality. She is a member of the American Oil Chemists’ Society expert committee on olive oil, and has cooperated with AOCS on research projects. Beginning with her research work while at the University of California Cooperative Extension, she is the author of numerous research articles, papers, reports and newsletters. She has written a pocket reference book, ‘Olive Oil; A Field Guide’ as well as contributing a chapter to the international book ‘Olive Oil Sensory Analysis’. She has also co-authored two chapters for ‘Organic Olive Production’ from UCANR. Alexandra has judged and/or advised at many olive oil shows including Olive Japan (since 2012), Athena International, Los Angeles International, Yolo County Fair, Central Coast and Sonoma County Harvest Fair. She has been head judge at California State Olive Oil Competition for the first two years and is the current chair of the Napa Valley Olive oil Competition (since 2011).

Michael Esposito

Michael Esposito

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

As a young gun, Michael started judging as an associate judge in 2014. In 2015 Michael completed his International Master for EVOO Taster & Olive Experts Diploma in Italy under the instruction of Andrea Giomo, Barbara Alfei and Maria Gabusi.

Since then he has been elevated to a full state and national judge and has participated in the Australian National Olive Competition, Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition.

Michael is the general manager and olive grower of Kangaroo Island Olives, a family owned olive farm on South Australia’s pristine Kangaroo Island www.kiolives.com.au. The brand has received multiple awards from various olive oil shows around Australia.

Hilary Fenemor

Hilary Fenemor

NEW ZEALAND

As a member of the Olive New Zealand (ONZ). Hilary was invited to participate in organoleptic sensory panel training with Dr Luciano Di Giovacchino in 1997 with a view to forming an IOOC accredited panel in New Zealand.

This lead to an invitation to judge at the inaugural NZ Olive Awards in 2001. Since then, Hilary has been invited to judge in many olive oil competitions and she will be judging in the 2017 ONZ olive awards in October.

Hilary has a Bachelor of Technology (Biotechnology) from Massey University and she is an accredited IOOC Organoleptic Sensory Panel member with flavoured oil training. She is a co-owner of a small olive grove www.mt-heslington.co.nz near Nelson in the South Island of New Zealand and has been a member of the ONZ since 1996.  She has been secretary of the Nelson branch of ONZ and involved with running olive conferences and olive oil tasting workshops in the Nelson region.

Claudia Guillaume

Claudia Guillaume

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Claudia came to Australia in 2006 to head up Modern Olives Laboratory. She has had over 15 years’ experience in olive oil testing. She finished her studies in Argentina as Food Scientist and olive oil specialist.

After working for several years in the area of quality, authenticity and sensory testing in a commercial food laboratory, Claudia completed a Post Graduate Course in the Fats & Oils Institute in Seville, Spain; where extensive experience in olive oil analysis was gained. Claudia is an approved chemist of the AOCS, participate as technical members for the Australian Standard for Olive Oil (AS 5264-2011) committee and is a NATA technical assessor.

She has extensive experience in sensory evaluation of olive oil carrying out many training and judging in this matter. Claudia has been invited to many national and international conferences as speaker and she has published numerous scientific papers in national and international journals.

Briony Liebich

Briony Liebich

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Briony works at West End Brewery as a Sensory Analyst. For the last 15 years she has honed her skills with a broad range of experience in the food and drink industries including working for her family’s Barossa Valley winery, as a sensory consultant and running a sensory lab.

Briony has been judging at state and national olive oil competitions since 2014 and has been head judge of the Fleurieu Peninsula Olive Competition.

She also runs food and olive oil sensory workshops to teach flavour descriptors under her Flavour Logic brand. Briony also enjoys harvesting and processing wild and grove olives from around McLaren Vale with friends

Alva Lim

Alva Lim

TIMOR-LESTE, DILI

Alva is a Co-founder of Agora Food Studio (AFS), social enterprise dedicated to mentoring youth food innovators and exploring the edible diversity of Timor-Leste and the greater equatorial archipelago. It believes in the power of sharing ideas over a nourishing meal and creating real human-to-human connections that bring positive changes in the global foods system. The social enterprise is based in Dili, Timor-Leste (www.timorlestefoodlab.com).

AFS uses and promotes the benefits of extra virgin olive oil and how to be more discerning when choosing oils to buy.

Alva is an avid promoter and consumer of extra virgin olive oil. In 2013 she completed her AOA Certified EVOO Assessment training and has been an invited judge at the Australian National Olive Competition for the last three years.

Tim Martella

Tim Martella

AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA

Tim is based in Western Australia and specialises in table olive assessment. He has a Bachelor of Science, (Hons) in Agriculture and was a lecturer in horticulture for eighteen years at Curtin University, Perth WA.

Tim has trained under Professor Stan Kailis and Dr Richard Gawel and has been judging olive oil and table olives at the Royal Perth Show since 1998.

Tim has been a big supporter of the burgeoning olive industry in Western Australia and is an enthusiastic consumer of olive products. He enjoys pickling his own olives for family and friends

Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay

Soumi Paul Mukhopadhyay

AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY NSW

Soumi has successfully completed her PhD in Food Science from School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Charles Sturt University (CSU), Australia, She specialised in sensory and consumer science and has had several articles published.

Soumi is a food technologist with over seven years of experience in sensory analysis, technology, research and development, corporate quality assurance and intellectual property & capability analysis. She is a trained member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga Wagga and has had extensive palate training. Soumi started her formal olive oil judging journey at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show in 2016

Isabelle Okis

Isabelle Okis

AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA

Isabelle is based in Western Australia and has been tasting and judging olive oil for over 17 years.  She initially trained under Professor Stan Kailis and Dr Luciano di Giovacchino in 2000-2001 and since then has had training under Judy Ridgeway, Richard Gawel, Paul Vossen, Marc Morain, Gino Russo, Richard Butler and Linda Costa.

In 2013 Isabelle completed her Diploma for Tasting Panel Supervisor in accordance with IOOC norms held in Viterbo, Italy and presented by Wenceslao Moreda and Mauro Martelossi.

In the last two years Isabelle has been working with Stan Kailis to present refresher olive oil tasting sessions in Perth, WA.  Isabelle has been judging at numerous competitions including the Australian Olive Association National competition (since 2013), Olive Japan (since 2016), regional South West Olive Association (head judge since 2010), Perth Royal Show (since 2000 and head judge since 2015) and Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

She harvests fruit from her small 1000 tree grove in the great southern region of Western Australia and produces her award winning Yaribelle Braes brand of extra virgin olive oil.

Peter Olson

Peter Olson

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Peter started his olive oil journey as an analyst developing chemical testing for olive oils. He developed a commercial testing service for olive oil in 1997.

An IOC recognised Trainer came to Wagga Wagga in 2003 and trained Peter and 23 others to become IOC Tasters. Peter was then trained at the IOC International Course for Panel Supervisors at the University of Imperia, Italy.

In 2005 he became the first leader of the Wagga Wagga Olive Oil Sensory Panel, which later merged with the AOA to become the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel based in Wagga Wagga. This panel was accredited by the International Olive Oil Council and a year later it was NATA accredited (2006). Both of these accreditations are maintained to this day.

Peter, now retired, gained a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Peter worked with the Department of Primary Industries’ olive oil testing laboratory in Wagga Wagga for 28 years and is still a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel. Peter has trained several Tasters of organoleptic assessment since 2007 and has authored several olive related papers and reports.

Peter has been head judge at the Golden Olive Awards and Olives New Zealand, chief judge at the Hunter Olive Show and chair of judges for Sydney Royal Show as well as judging at the Australian National Olive Competitions and Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Olive Competitions. He is an experienced trainer of organoleptic assessment and enjoys tutoring in olive oil judging.

Susan Pottie

Susan Pottie

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Susan is based in Wagga Wagga and has been an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since 2009.

She has judged at numerous Australian National Olive Competitions, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and Golden Olive Awards.

Jim Rowntree

Jim Rowntree

AUSTRALIA - COONALPYN, SA

Jim has have been growing olives since 1998. He has an 83 hectare super high density olive orchard 20km north of Coonalpyn.

Jim and his wife Lisa own the Longridge extra virgin olive oil brand www.longridgeolives.com.au . Over the last 15 years, Jim has also been responsible for the development of over 500ha of high and super high density orchards in the Upper South East region of South Australia.

Jim has managed the Tatiara Olive Processing plant for the last 5 years where he has been responsible for processing, oil blending and oil management.  Over the last 10 years Jim has been an olive oil judge in many regional and state competitions.

Helen Salem

Helen Salem

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Helen is a Melbourne based teacher with formal olive oil assessment training.

She has judged at the Australian Olive Association National competition as well as the Royal Melbourne Fine Food Awards and the Golden Olive Awards.

Helen provides specialised language and liaison support for the Australian olive oil industry for the Chinese market including facilitating trade partnerships, export compliance, design copy direction and product specifications.

Donna Seberry

Donna Seberry

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Donna is the current Panel leader for the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga and she also works in the NSW Department of Industries Oil Testing Service which chemically and organoleptically analyses olive and other edible oils.

Donna has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Charles Sturt University Wagga.

She has also attended numerous formal judge training programs for both olive oil and table olive assessment in Australia and in New Zealand.

Donna has judged at the Australian Olive Association National competition as well as Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and the Golden Olive Awards.

Ali Tanner

Ali Tanner

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Ali is based in Wagga Wagga NSW. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Graduate Diploma in Education.

Ali has been a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel since 2014 and has judged at both the Australian National Olive Competition and the Northern Victorian Olive Awards.

Tashiya Tada

Tashiya Tada

Japan

Toshiya Tada is a Master Olive Oil Sommelier, senior taster and olive oil panel leader. He is a regular olive oil judge at the Shodoshima/Japan Municipal Olive Oil Competition and has judged in Israel at Terraolivo.

Toshiya is the Chairman and founder of the Olive Oil Sommelier Association of Japan (OSAJ) www.oliveoil.or.jp/en/.  Since 2012 he has organised and been Director of Japan’s largest annual OLIVE Convention and Olive Oil Competition ‘OLIVE JAPAN’ (www.olivejapan.com/en).

Toshiya is the founder and Senior Professor of the Olive Oil Sommelier School of Japan which started in Tokyo in 2009. He researched and wrote over 80 hours of course curriculum and the thorough 1,200 page textbooks that cover the history of olives and olive production, olive culture, culinary uses, health benefits and sensory skills. He is a Guest Professor with the Fukuoka University, a commentator, a bestselling book author and writer of monthly magazine articles and newspapers. He regularly appears at conferences, seminars and events.

Toshiya has a Bachelor of Arts, International Christian University (ICU) Tokyo JAPAN and a Bachelor of Science, Trinity College Cambridge UK.  He is a member of Japan oil Chemists Society (JOCS) and is also a trained tea master with decades of study in the art and appreciation of tea. Toshiya speaks English, German, Latin and Japanese.

Helen Taylor

Helen Taylor

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Helen has over ten years experience in olive oil judging at regional, state and national olive oil competitions in an associate, standard and head judge capacity.

Helen was a judge at the finals of the Armonia International Olive Oil Show in Spain. She is a trained food technologist and in 2003 began training in olive oil sensory evaluation. Helen was one of the founding members of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel at Wagga who then went on to undertake olive oil sommelier and olive oil sensory analysis training in Milan, Italy in 2015.

She has trained in table olive production and assessment and has judged in several table olive shows. Helen continues to be an active member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel.

Michael Thomsett

Michael Thomsett

AUSTRALIA - LAGGAN, NSW

Michael has been a career horticulturist in the olive industry for eighteen years. He is a graduate of Hawkesbury Agricultural College, and has over fourteen years experience as an olive oil judge at regional and national shows.

He has been involved with both table olive and oil production and now offers consulting services for small to medium growers from Mudgee and the Hunter Valley down towards the Murray River.

Michael is currently the Chairman of Judges for the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show.

Debbie Worgan

Debbie Worgan

AUSTRALIA - WAGGA WAGGA, NSW

Debra is a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel, the peak chemical and organoleptic testing body based at the NSW Department of Primary Industries Australian Oils Research Laboratory in Wagga.

This will be Debra’s eighth year judging olive oil. She has judged at the Sydney Olive Oil Show, the Australian Olive Association National Competition, New Zealand Olive Awards, the Canberra Olive Oil Show and the Golden Olive Show.

Debra works as a graphic designer and teacher but her passion for olive oil has seen her undertake regular and ongoing olive oil quality assessment

Nino Zoccali

Nino Zoccali

AUSTRALIA - SYDNEY, NSW

Nino is the executive chef and proprietor of The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand restaurants in Sydney’s historic Strand Arcade in NSW. The Restaurant Pendolino is a specialist olive oil restaurant profiling some of Australia’s best extra virgin olive oils www.pendolino.com.au and  houses a purpose built Lolioteca (olive oil store) which features a selection of world class Australian premium extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, olives and food products.

Prior to working in the restaurant industry, Nino completed a double major degree in economics and Italian. He opened his first restaurant, Caffe Contadino, in Margaret River Western Australia at the age of 25. Since then he has established landmark Sydney restaurants including Otto Ristorante Italiano, The Restaurant Pendolino and La Rosa The Strand.

He is a passionate chef, cookbook author and olive oil expert and also makes regular contributions to Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine. Nino has been judging olive oil in Australia at both the state and national competition level for more than twelve years

Table Olive Judges

Bob Barrett

Bob Barrett

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Bob Barrett was Lecturer at the University of Adelaide with over 25 years of teaching at Waite Campus and the National Wine Centre in Oenology, horticulture and wine marketing. His book “Olive Production & Marketing in Australia”, published in 2008, was the based on his lectures developed for this subject at the Waite Campus of the University over a period of years.

Bob was Chief Judge at the inaugural National Table Olive Competition in 2010. Prior to retirement he was on the inaugural panel Australian Panel which sought and obtained accreditation from the International Olive Oil Council to make judgements as to the organoleptic status of oils (Extra Virgin, Virgin, and so on).

He was a long standing member of Olives SA board and initiated the original Olives South Australia website in 2010. Bob has been a table olive judge at both the Australian National Olive Competition and the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards. He currently consults to the olive industry.

Michael Harbison

Michael Harbison

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Michael has expertise in judging both olive oil and table olives. He has done extensive training with the Australian Olive Association and Olives South Australia.

He is a very active member of Olives SA (Treasurer) and has been involved in organising olive industry field days, events and consumer awareness training events.

Michael has been a table olive judge at the Australian National Olive Competition and an olive oil judge at the Royal Hobart Show and the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards.

He produces award winning olive oil and table olives from his Nangkita grove on the Fleurieu peninsula, South Australia. www.nangkita.com.au

Stan Kalis

Stan Kalis

AUSTRALIA - PERTH, WA

Professor Stanley Kailis is an honorary staff member and has held the position of Professorial Fellow at the School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, and a Fellow of Curtin University of technology, WA. He holds qualifications in science, pharmacy and teaching and holds a PhD in science.

His family heritage originates from the Greek Island Megisti and at an early age, Stanley was introduced to the table olive by his grandmother Konstantinia. His activities focus on the quality aspects of olives and he is particularly interested in the propagation of the olive varieties Kalamata, Leccino, Manzanillo and Konservolia.

Stanley has made presentations on olive growing, olive oil and table olives at national and international forums and industry groups. He has published numerous research papers in national and international journals. He has conducted many courses and workshops in Australia on olive growing, olive oil and table olive production, flavoured oils, organoleptic evaluation of olive products and olive propagation.

In relation to these he has co- authored two olive books, ‘Producing Table Olives’ and ‘Olive Propagation Manual’ and has recently produced two major publications, ‘Olives Encyclopaedia of Applied Plant Science 2017 – Olives’ (author) and ‘Table Olives: processing, nutritional and health implications – American Oil Chemists 2017’ (co-author).he has also co-authored a research paper on loosening agents and olive oil quality. He is currently working on a review paper on Natural Table Olives with associates in Spain.

Stanley has participated in the development of the Voluntary Industry Standard for Table Olives in Australia, and is a member of the current National Table Olive Committee. He has provided extensive olive oil and table olive judges training in Western Australia and has chaired and judged at numerous olive competitions including the Perth Royal Olive Awards.

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology and continues to undertake olive research and run industry and training workshops.

Andrew Markides

Andrew Markides

AUSTRALIA - ADELAIDE, SA

Andrew has judged table olives at the Australian National Olive Competition, the Royal Adelaide Olive Awards and the Fleurieu Fine Food and Olive Competition for some years.  He holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and PhD in Microbiology from the University of New South Wales.

After 25 years in wine academia teaching wine production, microbiology and sensory evaluation at the Riverina Murray Institute of Higher Education, Roseworthy Agricultural College and The University of Adelaide, Andrew moved to the private sector joining a French-Canadian Company servicing the wine industry worldwide.

Andrew’s Greek background has had him interested in olives since his teenage years. Over many years, he learnt a great deal exploring the relationship between olive maturity, flavour, texture and size using various olive varieties.

Andrew is now professionally retired from full-time employment but remains active in the olive sector. He continues exploring micro olive processing techniques and is particularly looking forward to increasing my involvement with the olive sector, both nationally and internationally.

Stephen Mitchell

Stephen Mitchell

AUSTRALIA - GLENDON BROOK, NSW

Stephen started judging olive oil at regional olive shows in 2005. Since then he has judged olive oil and table olives at many competitions including Australian National Olive Competition, Sydney Royal Fine Food Show, and Melbourne Royal Fine Food Awards.

In 2005 he established the Hunter Olive Show in the Hunter Valley, NSW and has been their chief steward since its inception. He has been on the committee of the Hunter Olive Association since 2001 and runs olive oil and table olive assessment courses and workshops for local olive producers.

Stephen is currently on the National Table Olive Committee and was a member of the Australian Olive Oil Sensory Panel (Wagga Wagga) between 2007 and 2009. Stephen is an olive grower and olive oil producer with his own Lisborne Grove label that he markets and sells at the Sydney Farmers Market.

Geoffrey Vercoe

Geoffrey Vercoe

AUSTRALIA - NORMANVILLE, SA

Awaiting bio.

Michelle Wirthensohn

Michelle Wirthensohn

AUSTRALIA - CHARLESTON, SA

Peta Zito

Peta Zito

AUSTRALIA - MELBOURNE, VIC

Peta is an OliveCare Certified olive oil grower and processor with vertical integration of growing, harvesting, processing and marketing.

For the last six years she has regularly tasted and assessed olive oil on a fortnightly basis at Boundary Bend Ltd. in Lara, Victoria. Having trained with Stan Kailis and Gino Russo, Peta was part of the inaugural table olive judging team at the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria olive competition.

Peta, a trained midwifery nurse and completed a Post Graduate Diploma, Horticulture, in 2004. She was a partner in Victorian Olive Groves, a business founded in 1997 and located in Bendigo Victoria.

Since concentrating on their family grove they have been awarded various gold, silver and bronze medals

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